Thousands of minute details differentiate fighting from other, more mainstream sports. But one of the most stark, and most painful to watch from the sidelines, is how brutally unforgiving Father Time can be.
This isn't basketball or baseball, where, at worst, staying a bit past your time leads to an awkward lesson in humility courtesy of a young up-and-comer. Of course, our sport has those moments, but along with the embarrassment comes potentially catastrophic injury and life-altering damage to your mental faculties.
We've seen in countless times before. The end comes suddenly for fighters, and once it's gone, it ain't ever coming back. For Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, the end came right around the moment Brendan Schaub sandwiched the Croatian's face between his fist and the canvas.
Seven months later "Cro Cop" retired from MMA after another jarring TKO loss. At the time it seemed like a wise decision, if only to save his brain from another traumatic session of ground and pound. Only now, it seems like "Cro Cop" has that itch back.
"Concerning my retirement from the UFC, I said it was my last fight for the UFC and last fight on the present contract, but I did not say, 'I won't keep fighting," Filipovic explained to USA Today's John Morgan. "I never said that. I think the best thing to say is that I was born to fight.
"My motivation now is to prove to everyone that I'm still capable of being in the cage. I'm not old. I'm 37, but I can do things that fighters 10 years younger cannot. ... I will prove that, or I will die trying."
That last line is exactly what makes this news so ominous.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
GSP potentially open to Silva superfight. UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre discussed his renewed enthusiasm for mixed martial arts, future opponents, and a possible mega-fight with Anderson Silva.
Sonnen vs. Griffin. Chael Sonnen and Forrest Griffin will meet in a light heavyweight rematch on December 29, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Madadi saves drowning infant and father. Swedish lightweight Reza Madadi joined the recent wave of good samaritan MMA fighters by saving a drowning infant and his father when the toddler tumbled off a pier near Hornsberg, Sweden.
Tate still gunning for Rousey rematch. Former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Miesha Tate continued her campaign for a rematch against rival Ronda Rousey, saying if she defeated Julie Kedzie this Saturday, she'd deserve the next title shot.
For someone with the YouTube username "F--kZuffa," this fella still manages to make a pretty sweet UFC 151 trailer.
Apparently a cracked skull (yes, this is his actual x-ray) doesn't mean squat to J.P. Joubert. Unbelievable show of heart here.
The folks over at Inside MMA asked both Ben Henderson and Nate Diaz to compare each other's game. Bendo, of course, talked about the infamous 209 attitude, while Diaz stuck with a more succinct (and rather apt) answer: "F--k the belt. I'm trying to beat the No. 1 guy in the world."
I've posted this up before, but for anyone who didn't catch that Sonnen-Griffin is a rematch, feel free to travel back to 2003 with me.
MMA'S TRT BOWL
NEVER STOP TALKING
Just finished a great training session. Camp is going great. Brian stann WILL be defeated on September 22nd in toronto,— michael (@bisping) August 14, 2012
Gray Maynard (@GrayMaynard) August 15, 2012
AND THE WINNER OF THE WORLD'S WORST TATTOO...
Announced yesterday (Tuesday, August 14, 2012):
- UFC: Chael Sonnen (27-12-1) vs. Forrest Griffin (19-7) booked for December 29, 2012 in Las Vegas, NV
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day sees Dave Strummer pour on the honesty and say some things you may or may not agree with: Frankie Edgar and the Rocky Archetype
At any given moment in time, at least one team in the National Football League is required to employ at least one small, undersized, usually white wide receiver, who is known for his work ethic and grittiness and is loved far beyond any reasonable assessment of his abilities.
At the moment, that guy would seem to be Wes Welker, who is kind of a crappy example, because he's actually pretty freaking good, but he meets the standard on all the other criteria, including the near-universal adulation that gets heaped on him by fans, commentators and journalists.
Perhaps a better example though, for folks whose memory goes back a little further, is longtime New York Jets slot receiver Wayne Chrebet. Chrebet was the ultimate underdog story: an undrafted walk-on who became a 10-year starter. He was known for his tireless work ethic and unbelievable courage, especially in relation to his size. He finished his career with a bunch of Jets receiving records, and the respect of the entire league.
I always hated that guy.
Maybe I'm a bad person, but I don't watch sports to see ordinary guys who make it to the big time through grit and determination. I watch sports to see trans-human ubermenschen doing things that don't seem physically possible and making them seem easy. To me, guys like Wayne Chrebet really spoil the theater of it all. In the midst of all these cyborg killing machines and gazelle-human super beings, you got little Wayne Chrebet, gutting it out. Always chapped my ass for some reason.
Anyway, I've been trying to put my finger on what I don't like about Frankie Edgar, and I think that's it. It may not be terribly rational, but he just does nothing to spur my imagination and awe. He's just like a guy at the gym, only when you go home, he stays and hits the bag for four more hours. And when you're waking up in the morning, he's doing roadwork and shadow boxing. He makes up for his physical limitations with raw grit.
As I write it, I realize that sounds pretty admirable, but I just don't care. I like my athletes bigger than life. I like Anderson Silva, slipping into the Matrix and making professional fighters look like children; I like Jon Jones stalking and eliminating elite fighters like some sort of genetically engineered panther; I like Rousimar Pahlares tearing dudes' legs off and Paul Daley hitting people so hard they forget their names.
I KNOW I'm not going to see that when I watch a Frankie Edgar fight, and I find that knowledge enervating.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.